Bottle vs Breastfeeding
Cloth vs Disposable
Crazy Organic SAHM Mom vs Tightly Scheduled Working Mom
Tell me I am not the only one that finds it so discouraging to ALL mothers when I come across an article or another specialist telling us the RIGHT way to raise our children. One person says that the only type of milk that should touch your baby's lips before their 1st birthday is breastmilk. Another person says that breastfeeding is a prison that reverts women back to the dark ages. One study says that children of working moms are extremely happy children, another study shows that children of stay at home moms are even happier.
Maybe it's because I'm sort of a contradiction. Some of my parenting beliefs fall right into the attachment/natural parenting category; but I still do plenty of things that are far from the natural parenting concepts. I feel like I don't really fit into any parenting stereotype. I'm not natural enough to be an attached parent and I'm not conventional enough to be considered mainstream.
My labor was not natural. I was induced and gladly accepted the epidural. I breastfed, but we also used formula. I made our own baby food and we eat mainly organic, but I don't freak out when a family member gives my son processed foods. We vaccinate. I loved our sling and I wore my son all the time, but we never once considered co-sleeping. We now use cloth diapers, but we did start out with disposables. I am now a work-at-home mom, but if we hadn't had the daycare drama, I'd probably still be working outside of the home.
My point is, why do women always have to judge each other? I could care less if another woman is making her own baby food or babywearing. What I care about is that she loves her child and is giving her child the best that she can. By now, I'm sure we all know that breastfeeding is best for babies, but it can be very hard for some women. I worked outside of the home until my son was a little over 4 months old and I could pump all day long and still only get anywhere from 4-8 oz. I pumped as much as I could and it just wasn't enough, so we had to supplement with formula. Thankfully, my son easily transitioned from breastmilk to formula and back so I was still able to nurse while I was home.
I think that instead of pointing fingers at each other, maybe we should look into ways to educate each other without all the judgment. Look into educating our doctors about the dangers of inductions and epidurals. Get involved with state agencies to help educate new mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding and where to find help if they need it.
I know there are great resources out there that are already involved in these types of education, but those resources are usually centered in large cities and rarely found in less populated areas. If I had access to this education while I was pregnant, I would've fought the induction and I probably would've tried harder to exclusively breastfeed. Alas, the only nursing help I had was while I was in the hospital by a nurse that was a little bit too touchy for my taste and told me if my son ever bit me while nursing, "just slap his cheek and he'll stop". No, of course, I never did slap my son while he nursed - but that gives you an idea of the sort of education I received.
So, maybe the next time a pregnant friend tells you there's no way she could breastfeed, or cloth diaper, or babywear, or whatever else, instead of breaking out the "Don't you want to do what's best for your baby?", how about saying something like, "Well if you decide to (fill in the blank) let me know, and I'd be happy to help."